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Newsquest south: messages of support

17 October 2016

This proposal undermines democracy in South West London and the credibility of Newsquest titles. Tony Arbour, Chairman of the London Assembly

Please pass on my message of support for the Newsquest strikers following the first days of their action.  We desperately need in this country to sustain a healthy democracy a vibrant local media, which is adequately professionally staffed and whose staff are properly paid and treated with respect by their employers. You have my 100% support in the action you are taking to protect jobs and in this way protect quality journalism. Solidarity John McDonnell MP

Members of the Johnston Press NUJ Group Chapel send their congratulations and good wishes to colleagues at Newsquest as they take a stand against the relentless cuts that are destroying the regional newspaper sector.
The dedicated journalists at Newsquest's south London titles have withstood steadily worsening conditions and spiralling workloads for many years because they do not want to let down the communities they serve. Despite ever decreasing numbers, those who remain have done all they can to continue to provide quality, local coverage for readers - but there is only so much they can achieve when the company's most senior managers do not share that same belief in the value of local journalism and are determined to push on with further damaging cuts, regardless of the consequences.
We sincerely hope that this action being taken in the defence of jobs and quality journalism will serve as a wake-up call to a profitable company that could afford to staff its newspapers properly if it so wished. It is the very least that the journalists, the advertisers and, most importantly, the readers of these titles deserve. In solidarity,
Georgina Morris and Don Mort,Joint MoC and FoC, Johnston Press NUJ Group Chapel

On behalf of the chapel at the Jewish Chronicle, I would like to offer my support and best wishes for success to the Newsquest strikers and hope that their brave stand is rewarded with the victory they deserve. Simon Rocker, Jewish Chronicle FOC

Hi, the Morning Star chapel has collected £150 for the Newsquest South London strike fund, James Rodie,  FoC, Morning Star NUJ chapel

I send solidarity, and a small donation, and wish you victory in your current dispute. It’s good to know that you’re fighting back. Stewart Perkins (Life Member)

Could I please donate for the Strike Hardship Fund for Newsquest in South London?  Thanks,

Oxford & District NUJ will be sending a donation to the strike fund, Michael Taylor
branch treasurer

Good luck and keep warm. Very best wishes to everybody involved, Tom Faulkner.

I met with a group of journalists who work for Newsquest today in Petts Wood who were anxious to gain support for their strike action. As a former shop steward in the GMB , I  whole heartedly  support their claim and wish them a positive outcome in their dispute with Newsquest. Regards  Mary Callard

Thinking of you as you take this action. Can't believe the position you've been put in. All the best for the strike as you take this important stand. Well done for standing up for local journalism and reporters' jobs. Claire Wilde, Treasurer, Newsquest Bradford chapel

On behalf of White Horse (Wiltshire) TUC I am sending a message of support and solidarity with the South London Newsquest strikers and ask that you pass on this message on to them and our hope that this industrial action will prove successful.  Yours in solidarity,  Rosie MacGregor, secretary White Horse TUC

Letter from Simon Hogg, Labour leader Wandsworth council to Newsquest CEO:
Dear Mr Faure Walker
I was concerned to hear that Newsquest has put almost its entire south London newsroom on notice of redundancy.
It’s reported that the company’s told its employees that four reporters, two content editors, three subeditors, an editorial assistant and the deputy managing editor will all be cut.
The remaining staff of 12 reporters and four content editors will be expected to continue to produce 11 newspapers and eight associated websites including the Wandsworth Guardian.
This would be a real shame. The Wandsworth Guardian plays an important part in our civic life. Politicians fear its headlines, amateurs compete to star in its sports pages, and parents hope to see their children photographed in mid-air celebrating their exam results.
You will be aware of a letter from the leaders of Merton, Kingston upon Thames, Sutton and Richmond upon Thames of 13 September that states:
“We are writing to express our concern about the risk of erosion of local news reporting in south London.
“It is essential that Newsquest has the capacity to report professionally, to provide the high-quality journalism residents in our boroughs expect. As leaders of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat councils, we all share a common commitment to transparency and openness. The role of the local press in providing independent reporting and challenge on our councils and other public bodies locally is vital to this.”

I would like to echo these comments.
Last week a recently bereaved mother from Battersea told me how much it meant to her family that the local paper had covered her son’s murder. Crime reporting in the Wandsworth Guardian is crucial - it shows victims that they matter, keeps the community informed and plays an early role in the hunt for witnesses and evidence.
As a former newspaper journalist, I understand the massive challenges the industry faces. However, I suggest you reconsider the redundancies.
Your staff are your biggest assets. Journalism still attracts bright, ambitious young people. As a local councilor I’ve met some tough and brilliant Wandsworth Guardian reporters: Sophia Sleigh didn’t blink when dealing with gang members in Battersea; Alexandra Rucki came up to the 10th storey of a tower-block with no lift; and I’ve seen Rebecca Taylor sit through hours of a late-night Town Hall committee just to get one sentence of a story.
I urge you to join urgent negotiations with National Union of Journalist representatives to save these local jobs and our community’s news.
All the best
Leader, Wandsworth Labour

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